OK so I know it’s only the second week of May but it has already been such a busy month that I fear if I don’t write down what has happened so far, I will just forget. Or (even worse) the blog entry for May will be about 27 pages long and very dull….
I knew May was going to be a busy and tough month in terms of training and racing but it really has lifted off with a vengeance.
The tail end of April saw my final pre-race visit to my nutritional sponsor Insight Nutrition. (http://www.insight-nutrition.com) and the news remained positive, I am at a good racing weight with good lean muscle mass and a body fat percentage that remains in single figures. However, the nutritional intake balance is vital because I need to ensure I am eating enough of the right things to fuel the training and racing in the coming month.
Saturday 2nd May was the day in 2015 that I dared to enter open water and yes it was bloody cold. I joined my transition Tri team mates for the first “Galeforce Mass swim series” races. I figured if I was going to get cold I may as well do it for a reason! So, as the horn sounded I headed off on the 750m loop of the lake. I think it was after about 200m my left foot went numb, the right foot followed shortly after and both hands and my face had gone before I finished the loop. However, I did learn that I was the first male home. So I got a nice trophy for my efforts… and more importantly first in the hot shower!
Two days later and I was racing 13.1 miles around Milton Keynes. I won entry to this event in a raffle way back in December and didn’t really put any specific training in for it. I turned up on the day and ran well throughout finishing in 30th place overall and only 10 seconds outside my half marathon PB. Does make me wonder what time I could do if I actually trained for a half! The race itself was…… forgettable. The start was heavily congested, despite being organised into pens and as it turned out the first 2 miles cost me a PB as I weaved and winded my way through the crowds. The route was very dull, numerous out and back sections which left very little to inspire the legs and lungs to keep going. In my personal view the best bit was the final km. Firstly, you’re near the end which is never a bad thing, secondly, a nice scenic loop of one of MK’s numerous lakes and finally a stadium finish at the home of Wimbledon FC… sorry I mean MK Dons.
Two days later I took part in a midweek Aquathlon in Welwyn (Stanborough lakes). The 750m swim and 5km run served as a good timely brick session and again I was happy to exit the water in a good position and complete the run to finish in 3rd place overall.
Three days after that I decided to take part in the new Luton park run which is only in its 4th week. The route is 3 and a bit laps of the towns Wardown Park and attracts around 200 people every Saturday morning. Aware I had a big race the following day I eased off a little as I raced round. Happy to complete the course just under 20 minutes and in 7th position.
So that’s four races inside a week. Not the best taper for my first triathlon but some valuable training all the same.
Sunday 10th May saw my first triathlon of the 2015 season take place. Talk about in at the deep end! The first race was held in St Neots and happened to be the British Sprint championships, an ETU European qualifier and also an ITU world qualifier. So it’s safe the say the competition was fierce!
The race itself was disappointing, it’s not often I write something downbeat about a race but my performance on the day just wasn’t there. The swim was laboured due to a niggle in my shoulder and was about 90 seconds slower than it should have been, this meant that the bike leg was spent gaining places that should have already been mine. The bike performed well but lack of race practice meant I held back too much and in retrospect I should have pushed the average speed of the ride much more. As I hit the start of the run my feet were like two blocks of ice and it took the first half of the 5 km run to regain any sense of feeling in them. This did however lead to a reasonably strong finish and a decent run time overall. I finished 16th out of 40 in my Age group which for me is far from acceptable. I know people will say that the field of athletes and times were phenomenal that day but I still believe my individual performances should have been much better.
Still, that said it was the first one of the season and the next one is fast approaching. So it’s time to take lessons from that first race, work them out and move on and hit the next one stronger and faster. I’m a triathlete, it’s what we do.